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Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Jets defy odds for 2-0 win v Heart

By Guy Hand

Ten-man Newcastle Jets displayed courage and clinical finishing in equal measure to power into the top six with a 2-0 victory over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Wednesday night.

With goalkeeper Matthew Nash and former England striker Francis Jeffers outstanding, the Jets recovered from the harsh send-off of midfielder Jobe Wheelhouse after just eight minutes to stretch their unbeaten run to six matches.

Wheelhouse was sent off by referee Alan Milliner after he tangled with Heart defender Aziz Behich, got up and pushed him lightly in the face.

Behich then fell theatrically and rolled around, and it worked a treat as Milliner showed Wheelhouse a straight red card.

But to the Jets' credit, they broadened their shoulders and turned their anger into energy, bossing the first half entirely against a toothless and disappointing Heart who slumped to their fifth successive defeat.

Just four minutes after Wheelhouse's send-off the visitors were a goal up, with Jeffers banging home as Heart goalkeeper Clint Bolton made a meal of a corner - the ex-Everton man hitting home through a sea of legs to score.

Jeffers created a super second goal in the 19th minute, sliding a delightful through ball to striker Marco Jesic, who took advantage of a hesitant Bolton coming out of the area to slot home.

The Jets controlled the rest of the half, though the Heart had two chances - one to Adrian Zahra when he shot over the bar on 39 minutes and Behich forcing the first of several good saves from Nash on the stroke of halftime.

The Heart dominated possession and shots on goal in the second half, yet the Jets were able to frustrate them to leave the Melbourne side unable to score for a fifth successive match.

Nash saved a Zahra header five minutes after the resumption, then the luckless Heart midfielder had another shot blocked by defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley as it looked headed for goal.

The Heart also had two reasonable penalty shouts turned down, with Jason Hoffman having claims for a block by Ljubo Milicevic and a Topor-Stanley handball waved away by Green.

Nash again produced a class save with nine minutes remaining from Gerald Sibon, before Rutger Worm hit the bar in the 83rd minute to complete an exasperating night for the Heart and the 2,700 who braved torrential rain to attend.

The Heart slipped out of the top six with the defeat.

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